Cruise Lines Unhappy With Berthing

The LDP Newsletter reports that a second cruise line is set to ditch Liverpool due to poor berthing facilities.

Apparently, the cruise line firm Fred Olsen is ready to pull out because it is unable to base a ship at the Cruise Liner Terminal, at the Pier Head, and is currently forced to use the less than glamorous Langton Dock at Bootle. Not surprisingly, the company says it can no longer expect passengers to start a dream holiday in a dismal industrial area.

I know something about this too as earlier this year my wife Sarah helped out a friend on a meet and greet team for a SAGA cruise. Sarah wasn’t particularly impressed with the surrounding dockland area and wondered if the paying passengers would be disappointed embarking on their holidays from somewhere other than the Pier Head.

The LDP Newsletter goes on to report…

that only a few weeks ago, Thomson Cruise pulled the plug on a 30- voyage programme after trialling the unsightly berth at Langton Dock. Both lines claim they thought the terminal at the city’s waterfront would be available to use, but it has neither the necessary Customs or baggage handling facilities. At the moment, it can only be used as a port of call.

Fred Olsen marketing director Nigel Lingard said they decided to operate a ship out of Liverpool a couple of years ago on the clear understanding that new facilities would be made available.

“We made it clear to everyone that long-term success would require improved passenger and ship operating facilities.

“Our success in building up a local market is not something we wish to sacrifice lightly, but it’s not satisfactory to start anyone’s dream holiday with a scrapyard for scenery and abysmal passenger facilities.

“We find it virtually impossible to explain to potential customers why Liverpool has a much-heralded new cruise berth while we are berthed in a dismal industrial area.”

Following the Thomson decision, talks were held involving Peel Holdings, owners of the Port of Liverpool, and the city council ,with the Northwest Development Agency backing an upgrade of the facilities at the Cruise Terminal to provide Customs facilities.

A Peel Holdings (Port of Liverpool owners) spokesman yesterday declined to comment on the situation.

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